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About the Maldives

The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.
The country’s unique geography mesmerizes the visitor. Reefs that offer bands of color, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and a select few on each of the atolls are resorts and some of the islands are used for industry and agriculture.
The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that comes with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.

How to travel in Maldives.
When you travel to these islands best owed with the scenic splendour of nature you will be blown away by the modes of transportation. Till you reach the Hulhule, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport it is as usual- you come by air. But from there it is quite exciting. From the airport you will be transported to any Island Resort in the Maldives or the capital Male’ either by a dhoni or by a speedboat. Connectivity to the various atolls and resorts is facilitated by seaplanes, speed boats, motor boats, dhoni and domestic small aircrafts.

What is the best time to visit the Maldives.
November through April is the peak season of tourists arriving in the country and hence reservations should be made well in advance if you are planning to travel during this period. From May to October the costs of accommodation is comparatively lower as there are relatively fewer tourist traffic during this period.
The warm temperature that lasts through out the year makes Maldives the ideal holiday destination to be visited anytime of the year

What is the time difference of Maldives?
Maldives is five hours ahead (GMT +05:00) of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

What is the airport like.
Ibrahim Nasir International Airport or Male’ International Airport is the main connection between Maldives and the rest of the world. It is an island which is a short boat ride away from Male’, the capital city. It is the main transit point for everyone who visits Maldives. From here seaplanes, speed boats and the dhonis transfer people to their respective destinations. Internal flights to northern and southern atolls also operate from Hulule.

It is a common sight in the airport to see the various representatives of resorts and travel agents waiting with boards to greet and escort their various groups.

There is an airport restaurant which serves simple meals and refreshments. Money changing facilities are also provided. A round the clock ferry service operates to and from Male’. The fare varies, from a few Rufiyaas for sharing a dhoni to several dollars for a speed boat. But there is no ferry service to the resort islands. They arrange their own conveyance. Several duty free shops also offer a wide range of items. Airline Counters are opened and staffed only during flight times. Formalities of departure are quite relaxed.

What about domestic transportation.
From the airport island there is a round the clock ferry service to the Capital City Male’ also there is taxi and bus service to the Capital City Male. There are more than 9 airports that handle domestic flights including Male’, Gan (Addu), Hanimaadhoo, Maamigili, Kadhdhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Dharavandhoo, Fuamulah, and Kooddoo airports.

International merchant shipping is handled by the port of Male’. The fishing dhoni is the traditional all-purpose vessel in Maldives. Although dhonis have sails, most are also powered by engines. They are used mainly within the sheltered waters of each atoll. Travel through the open sea from one atoll to another is usually by vedis, larger, square-shaped wooden cargo boats.

What is a resort in Maldives.
As you land on one of these resorts you will feel as if you have set foot on paradise itself. Enjoy a walk along the sun kissed tropical beaches facing the shimmering blue waters of the sea or simply bask in the sun. The island is meant just for you, for a single resort occupies an entire island. The resorts, with semi-detached bungalows built around the island and along the lagoons, are equipped with restaurants, bars, centralized swimming pools and even gymnasiums. Altogether about 115 Resorts & Hotels Islands have been maintained as special resort Islands and you will be surprised to find that the only inhabitants in these islands other than the tourists are the resort staff. Your dream holiday comes full circle in these elegant island resorts.

What is weather like in Maldives.
The climate of Maldives is essentially determined by the monsoons. Throughout the year the climate remains warm. However, being on the equator, the islands experience mild monsoons. Of the two monsoons, the southwest monsoon from May to October brings some rain and wind. The northeast monsoon, from November to April, is the dry season with very little wind.

There is little variation in temperature with an annual average daily maximum of 30.4 degrees Celsius and the minimum at 25.9 degrees Celsius. The annual rainfall can be anywhere between 1500 mm – 2000mm.

Do I need Visa

A prior visa is not required when traveling to the Maldives (irrespective of nationality) and a 30 day on arrival visa (free of charge) is provided at Malé International Airport, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • 1. Should possess a valid passport with minimum of 6 months validity /travel document (that is valid for the duration of the stay). It should be a machine readable passport.
  • 2. Have a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives
  • 3. Have enough funds to cover the expenses for duration of the stay in Maldives or a confirmation of reservation.

What is the Capital City Mal’e.
When it comes to size, Male’ would perhaps count as one of the smallest capitals in the world. It is home to one third of the country’s total population. It is a city of skyscrapers and paved roads. While the government offices are located in one area, the main streets are lined with shops and offices. In Male you would not find any beach, instead it is encircled by seawalls. The city is quite green and pleasant. The streets in the residential areas are shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead.

What about shopping in Maldives.
Male, the capital of Maldives is fascinating place for the shoppers. Garments, perfumes and cosmetics, jewellery, electronic gadgets and gizmos and canned fish and various local handicrafts are among the best picks. The Chaandhanee Magu and the Majeedhee Magu are the prime shopping zones of the city. Since Male is a tiny place, you can get around easily from one end to the other by a taxi.

What is the currency used
In the Maldives we have our own currency called “Maldivian Ruffiya” (MRf). One United States Dollar is equivalent to 15.45 MRf (Maldives Monetary Authority buying rate) and this value doesn’t vary much.

How can I pay.
Payments can be made through cash or credit cards. Most of the local and souvenir shops in Male’ accept all major credit cards but none of these shops can get you cash from your card. There are two or three merchants who get can get you limited cash and this is only possible during weekdays as these merchants will be issuing you a cash check which you will have to en-cash it from the bank. One bank in the Maldives offers encashment of credit cards. However the withdrawals are well limited.

Is Maldives safe for visitors.
The Maldives is probably one of the safest places to visit in the world.

How are medical facilities.
The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’ is the biggest hospital in the country and provides sophisticated medical care. ADK Hospital (in Male’) is the biggest private health care facility, which also follows high medical standards. Some resorts have in-house doctors. Also, a decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of a diving emergency.

What do I wear.
Dress is generally casual T-shirts and other light cotton cloths are the most suitable. Nudity is forbidden in all areas and modest clothing of non-diaphanous material (especially for women) is recommended when visiting the capital Male’ and other local islands.